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Improving electronic resource access for students

By Curtin Library 27 August 2021 News & events Comments off

CL009When the Library is notified of new books to be included in student reading lists we routinely purchase them in electronic versions whenever possible. This has been the case for some time and helps ensure that texts are available to the greatest possible number of students and that distance is no barrier to access.

However, this in itself does not guarantee that all books on reading lists are actually ebooks. Sometimes electronic versions were not available at the time the reading lists were created and therefore print versions were purchased instead.

During the COVID lockdown of early 2020 it became critical that students could access reading list material online since physical libraries were closed. Accordingly, we quickly reviewed our provision of textbooks and were able to supplement print copies with a significant number of texts newly available in electronic format.

But, of course, reading lists are not just about textbooks. In 2021 the Library Collections Team started an initiative to review active reading lists to make sure that that all book content was made available electronically whenever it was possible for us to do so. We also wanted to establish a methodology so that reading lists were checked regularly to ensure that the print-only component was kept to a minimum.

When we began to look at how we would identify which titles lacked electronic versions in our catalogue and which of these had electronic versions that we could purchase, it rapidly became clear that this was not a simple task using the reports that we had available. Our existing methods meant that we would have needed to cross check reports from the Leganto reading list system against the Library catalogue and against the databases of our book suppliers.

Luckily, our library system vendor, ProQuest-Ex Libris, came to our aid. We had recently implemented the Rialto Marketplace, which integrates the ProQuest book purchasing platform into the acquisitions workflow within the Alma library system. Since Leganto is also integrated into Alma, ProQuest were easily able to use their internal systems to run a report both to identify where we did not have an ebook version, and to inform us of what options were available for us to purchase one.

As a result of this process we were able to acquire an additional 293 titles which were referenced by 417 reading list citations (some books were on multiple reading lists).  These were then added into the reading lists themselves by Collections Team staff, and are also, of course, available for future reuse. The cost of this exercise was around $135,000 – money well spent on ensuring that students have easy access to the reading they need for their studies.

And importantly, the ProQuest report can be rerun regularly so that ebook availability is always kept up to date.

Written by David Wells
Manager, Collections

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Meet our Kalgoorlie staff – Teresa and Greta

By Curtin Library 26 August 2021 News & events Comments off

Staff at Kalgoorlie open day

We’re proud to have our Curtin Kalgoorlie campus and library, located 7 hours drive east of Perth. Teresa Bennett and Greta Vos are our trusty librarians supporting our Kalgoorlie students and staff. We spoke to them to find out some of the unique rewards and challenges of operating a regional university library.

Hi Teresa and Greta, could you please describe your roles? What does a day in the life of a Kalgoorlie librarian look like?

Teresa: My role is the Coordinator, Curtin Connect & Library, which means I spend time looking after both student services and the Library.

Generally my days start off quiet as the first class on campus is at 8:00am. I’ll turn everything on in the building and log into the PCs.

Greta: Yes – we’ll generally start together on the library enquiries desk together before the Library Student Assistants and Curtin Connect Advisors arrive.

Teresa: During the day I’ll walk around the library to check on the students and make sure our COVID-19 rules in place are being adhered to by staff and students. Lots of things come up during the day, such as circulation issues and desk issues. We do lots of work supporting students via information literacy classes and one-on-one training. I am also on-call for local in-depth EndNote or database questions.

Greta: I’m on hand to assist students with their questions; usually regarding the catalogue and the different library services that we provide like printing, student card access, referencing and EndNote assistance. I also support WASM staff with these issues when required.

Teresa: We also regularly meet with both Perth staff and Kalgoorlie staff, this usually takes up a few hours of the day. The Library is a hive of activity in the afternoon and early evening.

Before leaving for the day I liaise with security with any issues they need to know as they are on campus until the library closes at midnight.

Going home doesn’t take long – only four minutes, or one song on Triple J!

Greta Vos

Greta Vos

How does your previous work experience inform your work here at the Library?

Greta: I started at Kalgoorlie Library this year and this is my first job in a library. My previous experience was in administration and customer service roles where I interacted with a range of different people. These roles included supporting and assisting newly arrived refugees settling within Australia; working within in a university environment assisting both academics and PhD students; and finally in the logistics and transport industry liaising with mining companies and suppliers.

Teresa: Previously I worked at a public library, a special library at a mining company and an education district office resource centre.

The work experience at the mining company gave me a good grounding in mining terms, and the process of mining. I was responsible for standards, the library and the company report depository.

There were also lot of historical documents from mining on the Golden Mile held by the company. This gave me a headstart in the business of mining and mining engineering, which helps me support students on this campus studying mining and metallurgical engineering and related subjects.

Working at the education department gave me good experience in dealing with academics and school staff and the approaches to teaching and learning.

Teresa Bennett

Teresa Bennett

Are there any particular challenges and rewards of working at a regional campus you’d like to highlight?

Teresa: One of the rewards of working on a smaller campus is the breadth of tasks that staff here cover, everyone working across teams to help each other and help our clients.

Team building is also good on a regional campus. In many activities planned for students, staff are invited to participate which makes for better relationships between the Curtin Student Guild, students and staff.

Greta: One of the more rewarding aspects of working at a regional campus is the opportunity to better know the students. It makes it much easier to find out what they need. It also helps us adapt our resources and programs to help make their time at Curtin Kalgoorlie fulfilling and productive.

Another bonus is the abundance of parking and no parking fees!

Teresa: The challenges are always communication and keeping the communication lines open, both with library staff at the Perth campus and Faculty of Science and Engineering staff located at Kalgoorlie.

Greta: The more challenging aspect I forgot before moving here was that it takes forever for online shopping to arrive!

How does your team help the University achieve its goals?

Teresa: The library supports Curtin students and staff in their study, learning and teaching, which helps them to achieve their goals. By supporting students and staff, we are helping the University achieve its goals.

Greta: Agreed! Our aim at Kalgoorlie is to develop new ways to provide resources and services to both staff and students. We also work closely with the Perth campus to support online services and workshops, continually looking at ways to meet the needs of our students – particularly in the quickly changing online environment due to COVID.

What are your work goals for the year? What big projects are coming up?

Greta: One of our big projects for the year is establishing and promoting our Makerspace that caters specifically to the creative and learning needs of our Curtin Kalgoorlie students. It also allows students to spend time de-stressing and chatting with other students or staff.

Teresa: My work goals this year consisted of employing and training a new Librarian – thanks Greta! – and creating a more cohesive team, with the Curtin Connect Staff who share our space in the Kalgoorlie Library. So far it’s going well!


Edited by Sara Culverhouse
Communications Officer

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Thesis Fest

By Curtin Library 25 August 2021 News & events Comments off

Presenter giving a lecture at Thesis Fest

Being a PhD student is often referred to as being on a journey, and in many cases a very lonely journey. The Library works closely with Curtin University PhD and Masters by Research students (HDRs) to support them with the skills and resources they need to complete their thesis. However there are still students who struggle, with COVID adding another layer of complexity and challenge for many of them.

The idea of running a two-day support workshop for PhD students was pitched by the Faculty Librarian team for last year’s Library Innovation Initiative and was judged the winning idea by Library staff. Using faculty contacts and suggestions from staff across the University, “Thesis Fest” was planned as a support event focusing not just on skills but also on wellness and mental health. It was successfully delivered over two days on June 21 and June 22, 2021 with approximately 65 HDR students attending in-person and 50 online. With exquisite timing – the event took place the week before WA had a snap lockdown.

The aim of Thesis Fest was to celebrate the HDR journey, motivate and inspire students, have fun, develop networks, meet other students, and learn from each other and some amazing speakers. Our keynote speaker Professor Inger Mewburn, also known as The Thesis Whisperer, beamed in from Canberra and shared her wisdom on academic writing in COVID times. Professor Julia Richardson reframed the HDR journey as a quest – complete with monsters to slay and a suitable reward at the finish.  We had Jack Geraghty from the Student Wellbeing Advisory Service showing us how to focus on the small steps to get to the bigger picture.  A courageous Professor Sharon Parker fronted the “Ask the Professor anything” session which sparked many questions and answers. We also welcomed inspirational presentation skills coach Peter Dhu who spoke about overcoming the fear of public speaking for milestone presentations. These were just to name a few of our diverse line-up of presenters!

Students at Thesis Fest

Students were encouraged to submit a poster about themselves and about their research prior to attending. The aim of our poster wall was to connect students with like-minded peers to help them establish or expand their networks.

To keep up the excitement on the day we offered daily door prizes with fierce competition for The Thesis Whisperer’s books. One student tried to buy a copy of the book only to find it sold out.  She won a copy the next day!

Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and faculties, many of whom are keen to continue the support measures begun at Thesis Fest. The overall message we received from student feedback was that they felt reenergised and motivated to get back to their research and complete their PhD:

Just want to say I’m so pleased to be here, I am astonished with the details, the student posters, meeting the professionals and your smiling faces.  I can say this is one of the best events I have ever attended at Curtin


Written by Diana Blackwood, Jenny Copestake, Kitty Delaney, Linden Hall, Jaya Ralph and Vanessa Varis
Faculty Librarians

Janice Chan
Coordinator, Research Services

Petra Dumbell
Academic Skills Advisor

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Reflecting on 23 Things, our evolving digital dexterity program

By Curtin Library 25 August 2021 News & events Comments off

23 things - forum1

23 Things, the Library’s digital dexterity program, has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 12 months. Evolving from a pilot program in 2020 to a recognised Curtin Extra program in 2021, the program prides itself on student-developed content, innovation, and continuous reflection and improvement.

23 Things is a fully online digital dexterity program created by students and is open to all to participate. The program covers 23 different modules or ‘Things’, designed to help students develop the digital capabilities to be successful in study, work and life. It consists of activity-based modules, workshops and creative digital challenges developed in H5P, on topics such as video editing, fake news, and data makeover. To date, over 1,400 people have registered for the program, including almost 800 in 2021.

As students make their way through the program, they complete reflections on each Thing. This prompts them to reflect on their knowledge of the topic, both existing and newly learned, and consider how this can be applied in their academic, professional and personal lives.

Through these reflections, the team has received a consistent stream of feedback, allowing the 23 Things program to undergo continuous review and iteration. We also take into account user engagement with program material and our team’s own insights to improve the program’s sustainability and quality. All feedback and suggestions are compiled and reviewed for implementation at the end of a semester period.

To date, our most significant and exciting upgrades include:

  • Transmedia storytelling through weekly reminder emails, using characters from our Certitude game to draw participants in and establish real-life scenarios related to each Thing.

23 things - transmedia email2

  • A community forum where participants can engage with the 23 Things community, discuss the topics, and share their challenge creations.

23 things - forum2

  • The grouping of Things into loose ‘themes’, so participants can focus on developing their skillsets with a particular goal in mind, such as online content creation, upskilling for the classroom, and more.

23 things - activities and focuses

  • Gamification of the modules that awards badges upon the completion of a Thing, allowing participants to track their progress through the program and view their achievements.

We are also currently reviewing the range of Things we offer. There is scope to shift some of our existing Things into our suite of library and study skills support modules, which frees up space to develop new digital skills modules in the 23 Things program. The ability to do this allows the program to truly evolve with greater social and technological trends.

All content is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence for re-use and adaptation, and we include examples of freely available, open source software throughout the Things. The program is also highly scalable, with a view to promote the program in high schools. Further, it can also be easily adapted for delivery of other learning content such as assignment skills.

To find out more about the program or sign-up, visit the 23 Things website.


Written by Miah De Francesch
Learning Success Advisor

Drew Fordham
Project Officer

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Ebooks at Curtin Library: selection and acquisition methods

By Curtin Library 25 August 2021 News & events Comments off

Books around a door - image by Nino Carè from Pixabay

After over ten years of acquiring ebooks, the question of selection is no longer limited to ‘which one shall we buy?’, but it also extends to ‘where and how?’. Today there are many more ebook acquisition methods and it’s up to us to decide which one provides the most value for staff and students.

And it is a challenge. Consideration must be given to research, teaching and learning requirements; the look, feel and ease of use of platforms and user interfaces, digital rights management, licensing and product support; the budget, return on investment and relentless price increases.

Ebook acquisition methods have also become more diverse over the years. At Curtin University Library, these include conventional methods such as subscriptions to packages or individual titles, firm orders (items purchased in perpetuity) and approval plans (items purchased in perpetuity automatically based on a profile). But there are more.

We have been using Demand Driven Acquisition (or DDA) since 2014, a method whereby titles are automatically purchased according to client use. We create a selection profile based on a set of criteria, and the titles that fit these criteria are made available on the platform for clients to see and use. It is the usage that triggers a purchase, and the Library then owns purchased titles in perpetuity.

Evidence Based Acquisition (or EBA) has been available for some time now, and we are trying it out this year. EBA is somewhat similar to DDA, the main difference being the payment of an upfront fee which provides access to a collection of titles for an agreed period of time. At the end of the access period, the usage data of the collection is examined and we then select content we would like to own in perpetuity to the value of the upfront fee.

In addition to purchasing content, Open Access ebook titles or collections are also increasingly becoming available via our Library Management System as well as our catalogue discovery index, and these are further sources we look to in order to make more relevant content discoverable and accessible.

Keeping the focus on our users and their requirements, we monitor ebook access denials and requests on our major ebook platforms, and take action to purchase new items or additional user licenses to improve the user experience.

The Library also actively seeks to improve accessibility of textbooks to support students in their coursework. Our policy is to provide electronic access to textbooks where possible, as students can access these anywhere and don’t have to visit in-person to use them. This year we analysed items that had been added to Reading Lists (Leganto), and identified titles we only had available in print with the intent to replace them electronically. In this way we were able to provide electronic equivalents to 293 titles, corresponding to 471 Leganto citations.

These are some of the ways we acquire and make available ebook content at Curtin Library. Undoubtedly there are more methods, and new ones still to be invented, just to keep us on our toes. But listening to our clients will always remain key.

With that in mind, if you would like us to purchase a title, please let us know by submitting a recommendation, or contact us via Library Help.


Written by Anita Sallenbach
Collections Coordinator, Library Collections

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PICA Exhibition: Love in Bright Landscapes

By Curtin Library 30 July 2021 Library Services JCPML News & events Special collections Comments off

Ed Ruscha

Love in Bright Landscapes opening at PICA this month considers Perth and Los Angeles as comparative case studies, bringing together artworks made in reference to the two west coast cities.

The exhibition includes five artist’s books by Ed Ruscha on loan from the Curtin Library:

  • Some Los Angeles Apartments
  • Every Building On The Sunset Strip
  • Real Estate Opportunities
  • A Few Palm Trees
  • Nine Swimming Pools And A Broken Glass

Ed Ruscha is a Los Angeles artist working in a variety of mediums. His self-published series of photographic books produced from 1962 and into the 1970s are now sought by collectors. Curtin holds eight of these with Special Collections at the JCPML.

Since publication Ruscha’s work has been referenced by numerous artists and creatives. One of the books on loan is Every building on Sunset strip, a 7.5m accordion fold of street view photography taken on both sides of Sunset Boulevard in 1966. An archive of these images acquired by the Getty Museum has been developed into an online interactive exhibit 12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive.

Love in Bright Landscapes is at PICA from Friday 30 July until Sunday 10 October.

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Library orientation week activities

By Curtin Library 15 July 2021 News & events Comments off

Welcome to semester two 2021! Our orientation week workshops and activities will boost your confidence and get you familiar with our services.

To sign up and to get more information check out your personalised orientation planner via Student OASIS. Want to discover more about the Library? Check out our guide!

Monday 19 July

Activity Time
Makerspace activity at Alcoa Court: make a photoframe or memory box 10am – 2pm
The Library: what you need to know 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Time management 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Gathering information for your first assignment 3pm – 4pm

Tuesday 20 July

Activity Time
Referencing the right way 11am – 11.30am
The Library: what you need to know 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Mature age and part time student orientation 5pm – 6.30pm

Wednesday 21 July

Activity Time
Develop your digital and creative skills 9.30am – 10am
Referencing the right way 1pm – 1.30pm
Microsoft Word and PowerPoint essentials 1.30pm – 2.15pm
Microsoft Excel essentials 4pm – 4.45pm

Thursday 22 July

Activity Time
Makerspace activity at Alcoa Court: make a badge or magnet< 10am – 2pm
Improve your numeracy skills 1.30pm – 2.30pm
The Library: what you need to know 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Critical thinking 2.45pm – 3.45pm

Friday 23 July

Activity Time
Effective reading 12.45pm – 1.45pm
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Reading Lists: information for semester two 2021

By Curtin Library 13 July 2021 News & events Comments off

With the commencement of semester two, teaching staff are reminded to arrange access to unit readings through the Library’s Reading List system.

The Course Quality Manual states that all units will have a Reading List unless exempted. In particular, all learning resources copied under the University’s Statutory Licence must be recorded in the Reading List system by being included on relevant 2021 Reading Lists.

Your next steps

Teaching staff who wish to roll over existing Reading Lists should do so now.

Staff should also check that their lists are Associated with the correct Blackboard units and that the lists are Published prior to the commencement of the study period.

Staff should use Reading Lists to notify the Library of their unit’s prescribed essential learning resources.

New features

The Add items area has been given a fresh, clean look but provides the same ability to search and add items from the Library catalogue as well as create manual citations and upload files.

The Reports tab was removed for maintenance by the vendor. However, the View List Analysis report is still available from the main Reading List page.

Other updates

Print books

A reminder that the Library is digital by default. Print books will only be ordered if the resource is not available electronically.

Need help?

Videos and guided tours

Click on the Help Question Mark in the right top hand pane of the Reading List software. Here you can access video guides and guided tours which will guide you through creating a Reading List.


For more help with Reading Lists see our tutorial.

Support and training

If you have questions or wish to arrange training, please contact the Reading List Team via or +61 8 9266 7572 during normal working hours.


For help with copyright issues, such as how to comply with the University’s copyright licences, visit Copyright at Curtin.

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Regional partnerships: Library staff on tour

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

In March 2020, just before COVID turned the world upside down, Library staff delivered a workshop to students based in and around Albany. The event was delivered as a result of a strategic initiative exploring how the Library could best support regional students. The message received from those students, was loud and clear: they felt isolated and disconnected, they relished the opportunity to learn and interact, in-person, with their peers.

In March 2021, with support from the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) we hit the road once again, delivering support to students based in and around Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha and Port Hedland. Over three weeks, we offered a full-day program in each location hosted by local university centres, working in partnership with the centres and the WA Universities to promote the event to all students living in the area.

The program was divided into four individual workshops representing a typical assignment journey. The day began with a session on searching; progressed with strategies to enhance reading and note-making efficiency; suggested best practice approached for academic writing; and concluded with referencing and EndNote. Ample opportunities for questions and networking were provided, as well as lunch (because who can learn and make friends on an empty stomach?).

Whether a student lives in Albany or Port Hedland, they face similar challenges and many struggle to learn and connect, with such distance from their peers and their university. Even as COVID has increased and enhanced online learning opportunities, many attendees spoke of their struggles learning in isolation. Asked why they wanted to attend a face-to-face session, students suggested:

  • I learn best face-to-face and I wanted to meet new people. I thought I’d get more from interacting and removing the distractions at home – I was right! [Albany]
  • It really helped me immensely with the transition from a coronavirus gap year at TAFE, being a student registered for on-campus delivery and then going to online study. It made me feel better about being at University and calmed some of my nerves. [Bunbury]
  • I could ask questions when needed and get hands on help. Much prefer face-to-face. I would not have tuned in if this was online. [Geraldton]
  • I prefer face-to-face and enjoyed meeting other humans! [Karratha]

What many discovered is that they’re not as far from support as they may have initially thought. Some students in attendance were already well connected with their local university centres – hubs which provide both space and support to students based in the regions. For others, these events were their first connections with their local centre and many commented on the benefit of discovering a space where they could get the in-person support they’d been missing.

As presenters, it was an immense pleasure to participate in the formation of these local study communities. Just as enjoyable as the opportunity to see more of our amazing state.


Written by Claire Murphy, Manager, Learning Success.

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Peer Academic Mentoring

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

Curtin University Library is proud to be implementing a Peer Academic Mentoring program for students in 2021.

Mentors - edited

2021 Peer Academic Mentors

Individual peer academic mentoring fills a gap in Curtin’s support offerings, adding to our wide range of non-academic peer support (through programs such as New to Curtin Mentoring), and group-style academic support through Library workshops and programs (such as UniPASS).

The Peer Academic Mentoring program aims to support student retention across all faculties and campuses through one-on-one consultations with a fellow student mentor, facilitated both online and face-to-face. We know students often prefer to approach fellow students for assistance instead of staff, and these peers tend to provide advice in terms that can be easily understood and applied.

Mentoring sessions are designed to empower students with the knowledge they need to succeed, providing them with tips and resources to assist with their studies. Topics covered in the sessions include planning and structuring assignments, time management, exam preparation and referencing.

Our Peer Academic Mentors were recruited to represent different areas of study, resulting in ten mentors hired across the Humanities, Health Sciences, Business and Law, and Science and Engineering faculties. The mentors are currently excelling in their studies, and have a strong ambition to help others improve their study skills and habits. Through their work, Peer Academic Mentors gain valuable experience, skills and confidence, and help to shape the pilot program as it develops.

The program has gradually gained momentum since its launch in week 8 of semester 1, with 59 sessions conducted with students by the end of semester.

The team is pleased with how the pilot has been progressing, stating it’s a much needed service and a great addition to the Library’s mix of support services. The program has been eagerly received by students, and we’ve also found that the mentors are gaining as much out of the service as the students who come to see them. They’re a really positive and enthusiastic team, and willing to go the extra mile to assist their peers.

Feedback received from students accessing the service has also been very positive.

“It was nice being able to get some support from someone who can share experiences and provide studying tips too.”

“It was good to find out that I was already using some good techniques for studying and I received some other tips to help with studying that I hadn’t considered…”

Curtin students across all campuses and faculties can access Peer Academic Mentoring during semester weeks by booking a session or dropping in during available times. Find out more on the Peer Academic Mentoring website.


Written by Tracy Piper, Learning Success Advisor and Project Coordinator.

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